As it has been for months, it was another wicked hot weekend this past weekend when the U15 AA Bonnyville Braves hosted the Tier 2 provincial round robin against Sherwood Park Gold, Coronation Royals and the Red Deer Braves. Getting the call , Reiker Neumier was the starting pitcher in the first game lighting up the strike zone for a total of 30 pitches not giving up any runs with his heater. Out of the bull pen Shawn Vallee came on to the mound. Shawn was also on the money throwing right down the pipe to finish the game, the Braves winning 11 to 1 in five innings. Highlight of this game was definitely Ben Kale, the “Ginja Ninja”, hitting an in the park home run which got the boys all fired up. Riley Feland also making a heads up, quick-thinking, fast-moving play to get an out at first. Snagging a hot ground ball, and doing a running slide to beat the runner at first. All of this while avoiding a head on collision.
The second game against the Coronation Royals proved to be a bigger challenge and came right down to the wire. Up on the hill, starting pitcher Josh Bourbeau got off to a bit of a shaky start but once he found the grove there was no stopping him. The Braves gave up 3 runs in the first inning, but also really struggled offensively at the plate to get any hits until the fifth inning. In the top of the fifth, Ben Cale gets on base with a walk, Logan McMillan finding a hole with a beautiful hit for a single. Then affiliate player Brayden ‘Pinball’ Pinette hits a sacrifice fly which scores a run. Then another run comes in on an overthrow. The score now 4-3 for Coronation. Top of sixth inning, Foster Pikowicz gets on base with a single. He scores off a nice hit by Cale Rupp to tie the game. In the bottom of sixth, Foster takes the mound hurling nothing but strikes. Unfortunately, Coronation does manage to score a run in the bottom of the seventh for the win. Nothing to be ashamed about in this game. Coronation is a good team, the Braves fought hard.
The final game of the weekend was against the Red Deer Braves. Bonnyville got off to a good start scoring 4 runs in the first inning and seemed to be dominating the game. Riley Feland was on fire on the mound with some really good stuff. Red Deer having a tough time getting any hits or walks off him. Reiker Neumier with a couple of great plays including a beautiful jumping catch leading to a double play. Bonnyville was leading 6-2 after six innings and then all ‘you know what’ broke loose. The train came off the tracks. Red Deer scored a couple runs, Reiker Neumier came in to pitch and was throwing strikes with heat. But apparently that is what Red Deer was looking for because they starting hitting the ball. And the boys started bobbling the ball making errors. The total damage was 6 runs and Red Deer took the lead 8-6 going into the bottom of the seventh. With some patience at the plate, Kaelem Straughan gets on with a walk. Then steals his way around to third base. ‘Mighty Casey ‘Warawa at the plate with a single RBI scores Kaelem. Riley Feland gets hit by a pitch and then Reiker with a beautiful hit to score Casey and Riley for the win! Special thank you to Riley Feland for the most entertaining moment of the game in which he got into what I’m pretty sure was the longest run down in history – gonna have to use two cycles on the washing machine for that uniform!
Although the Braves struggled a bit with hitting and a few errors at a couple points it was really a strong team effort this weekend. Every player stepping up and doing their part. Now the Braves will wait a couple days for Baseball Alberta to tally this weekend’s results to finalize the tiering for the championship weekend August 27-29. Good luck in the finals boys!!!